Messier 53 (RGB)


It’s been said that if you have seen one globular cluster you have seen them all. There’s a bit of truth to that. Some are denser and some are sparser but they generally look pretty much like this.

This particular cluster, M53, is about 58,000 light years away from us in the constellation Coma Berenices.

Globular clusters are something of a mystery. There are a bunch of them in the halo of our galaxy and their origin remains elusive. They are composed of very old stars. Many of the stars in these clusters are as old as a star can be and they are very densely populated compared to stars in a galaxy.

The night sky in a globular cluster is probably pretty spectacular though there probably aren’t a lot of stars with planets. Since these are old stars there aren’t a lot of heavier elements around from which to build planets. And they are probably unhealthy places to be. Globular clusters are the one place we know of where stars can actually collide.

This is just under 4.5 hours of RGB data. For all the technical details see astrobin.

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